Saint John rapper Sw3aTy Sam balances therapy and creativity with equal measure on the first single from forthcoming sophomore album.
Saint John has long been recognized as a hub for singer songwriters and indie rock bands going back thirty years or more. But over the past several years the city has also become known as a home to some of the province’s most creative and forward thinking rap and hip hop artists. Recent releases from producers Meorkat, Jack Awful and White VHS, a steady stream of singles from Stephen Hero, along with the latest single from Sw3aTy Sam prove the harbour city is a lot more than just guitars, amps and college rock revivalism.
In advance of his forthcoming sophomore album, rapper Sw3aTy Sam has released his new single Black Hole with an accompanying video that perfectly channels the song’s dark lyrics and imagery.
As Sw3aTy Sam, musician James Derrah has created a means of vetting his own struggles with depression and anxiety, a pair of all too common afflictions he and countless others face on a daily basis.
“From the outside you wouldn’t be able to tell that I struggle, but that is sometimes the case for people who struggle with mental health issues,” said Derrah. “I definitely don’t want to give the impression that I feel like this all the time because that wouldn’t be the truth. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to find healthy coping mechanisms and I’ve learned how to find happiness. But sometimes these feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness find their way of creeping back into my head and it can be scary as hell.”
Black Hole finds Derrah exploring some highly personal issues that balance therapy and creativity with equal measure.
“One of those healthy coping mechanisms for me is writing music,” he said. “It is something that allows me to draw out all of my repressed emotions that often go unnoticed on the outside. It also allows me to take an honest look at myself as I listen back to my own voice and examine just where these thoughts come from and why. In this repetitive process of writing lyrics, listening to instrumentals, and repeatedly performing the song until I’m done writing it is almost as if I’m venting my feelings to someone but that someone is me.
“There is just something about the process that makes me feel good. It’s as though in a way I’m letting go of my negative thoughts and finding some closure. It helps me understand myself better.”
The video for Black Hole, shot and edited by videographer Josh LeBlanc, takes its inspiration in part from the German language Netflix series, Dark. An appropriate and clever pairing in support of this highly introspective song.
Sw3aTy Sam’s debut album Dark World was released in 2020.